Happy Mardi Gras, y’all! I know that many of you have heard the news about the tragedy at the Endymion parade on Saturday night. My girls and my sister’s family were just blocks away. They didn’t hear anything until they started getting frantic texts from friends and family. When I spoke to my cousin’s wife who is an emergency room doctor, she said the system they have set up for dealing with these types of emergencies worked. She received texts. Hospitals around the city were prepared and let emergency responders know which ones could take patients. She said it was handled smoothly.
Accidents are scary, but they are accidents. There is no predicting when something awful could happen. So I didn’t hesitate to travel to New Orleans on Sunday to meet up with my family to celebrate.
My sister has a friend who lives near St. Charles and the parade route. Perfect jumping off place complete with clean bathrooms, food, drink, and the sweetest yellow lab you have ever seen. Our corner on St. Charles was crowded, about 5 people deep. We were surrounded by families. When my sister caught a little container of Playdough, she handed it to some little girls nearby. They played with it for hours making beads, fake purple noses, and whatever else their creative minds could conjure up. I enjoyed watching them.
Throws are a huge part of Mardi Gras. These include beads, of course, but there are also unusual throws like feather boas, cups, footballs, stuffed animals, and more. I don’t work too hard for throws. But I do hold my hands over my head. It’s all part of protecting your head from the wayward bead. Once I was looking at a guy on a float holding an ugly stuffed rat. He must’ve read my mind, “Who would want that ugly rat!?”, and he threw it right to me. Yes, it’s going to the classroom as a new class pet.
The best story of the day was when my nephew and his dad were throwing the football across the street between parades. The football flew over my nephew and landed near some horse poop. Earlier, the people around that very horse poop had covered it with a box top and warned marching bands, “Watch out!” But when the football landed near it, Jack turned right around and said, “No way.” My brother-in-law retrieved the football and minutes later, a man in a dragon suit crossed the road to offer wipes to clean it. My sister posted this picture on Instagram with this caption, “Why did the dragon cross the road? To bring us a wipe for our football that landed in horse poop.”
To me, this is the spirit of Mardi Gras. It’s a community event with a community pride. Yes, there are rowdies and drunks and accidents, but there is also a spirit of fun and celebration. I’ll be back next year!